Ashley Mx

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📍#Colorado 🇺🇸Snap: AshArdor #Writer #Scifi #Alien #AI 📖Venu out soon. Stories& Life! 👽🎮🚀🔭 AI/ Quantum Computing Engineer in training #student

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Story VV
The day was young, and she was getting bored, ‘what to do?’ By chance, or maybe by fate, her answer came on a screen showing a news report, multiple groups are monitoring the center and are reporting abnormal results. ‘I have to check this out.’ Not a moment after the thought crossed her mind, a call came through. “Commander Che2(l) you are being assigned to the void crew closest to the center. Length is at this time unknown. We are expecting you to take care of this. Your team has been hand selected with some of the most brilliant minds of this time. They will meet you in the docking bay. We expect to see you in there in 10 minutes for ship assignment. Crew information is being uploaded to your personal terminal.”
//
The trip time over multiple lightyears has significantly improved the last few hundred years. It’s now only ‘around the block,’ as they say on Earth. With the downtime, Che2(l) finds herself getting to know the crew, and them her. “Well, Commander, you’ve been places, seen multiple galaxies; what is your favorite place so far?”
“Home, back in the Rockies, with my husband and my puppy-doodle before we have to wake up.” Her eyes glance toward one of the machines. Her smile drops, “Slow the fleet down. Even out here the magnetic readings are off the charts. Gas temperatures are rising. Tell everyone to stay on the other side of its horizon, in case anything happens.”
//
“Commander, reports are showing the center is experiencing temperature fluctuations and multiple nuclear fission flares, at least 30 times as many as normal. By the readings, we should leave the area immediately.” “You’re sure about this?”
“Yes.”
“Well, you heard him, get us all out of here. Order the fleet to withdrawal, state of emergency.” He nods and is off. As soon as our pilots hit warp drive, there was a loud the explosion of a whole 'nother universe, chasing us, and we were barely escaping it. “This will be the first reported case.”
The crew is overcome in awe and shock for the rest of the trip back to the SS Reid.
Story VV 
There are days where I just want to turn it all off, shut down my life and pretend it never happened. Days like these feel like I’m a room full of broken fiberglass and each breath is a painful reminder that I’m stuck, here. Eventually, it would numb, except the pressure of each time grows heavier and my will grows weaker. I want to go home, but, I can’t; they won’t let me. I’ve tried to ask why, and they just poke me again with those thin metal objects. “What are you poking at?” No response. 
They told me, ‘Don’t go Earth. They’re weird.’ Did I listen? NO, but I should’ve. I could have avoided my entire life here. The last 20 years of it at least. Just my luck running into the only cockamamie with sense. Also, the only one with millions of dollars to through at capturing ‘extraterrestrials’ as they call it.  I tried to say, “Xor, from Ult.” He either can’t listen, doesn’t understand me or is being completely rude. I haven’t found out which one yet. 20 human years is a very long time to be rude to someone.
He looks real old. I’m guessing humans’ lifespans are at least 1/6 of ours. I haven’t met the others, but, I know they’re there. I can feel them. I wonder what they’re looking for: are we being studied? Do they know of my kind? From where I came? Do they even know what they are looking for? The more time that passes, the more my mind races with thoughts of its own. Would I do the same if a life came from far away and landed at my feet? Is the curiosity more addictive than originally thought?
I remember what the world felt like before all this. I remember actual grass, the tickle of it on the bottoms of my feet when laying in it, watching the sky pass by, now, I’m laying here, in it, but a part of me knows I’m not really there. I’m not laying in the grass on a perfect day without a care in the world. I haven’t left this room in years. I can’t. There's always a part of me that remembers that and what led to these restraints.
	I never thought this is how my life would end up. If asked 10 years ago, even 5, it wouldn’t be anything close to this. I probably wouldn’t lay in the grass that often. I would be chasing credits, so, I can go to the other worlds, experience other solar systems, maybe, even new attractions like Saturn’s Moons tour. That was my dream. I was almost there. I almost left this forsaken planet. I trained so hard, learned the ins and outs of stellar reactors, and was specifically chosen as a crew member for this experimental assignment out toward Proxima.
	Everyone was excited. People like us wait years, even decades for a chance like this one. Walking the halls of the ship sent my heart racing and stopped it, at the same time. The smell, brand new metallic machine, is like the sweetest flower to me. The sound of the engines’ united hum is comparable to Mozart’s “Requiem” in its ability to set my soul on fire. We went to our stations, eagerly counting down to first lift off. “5-4-3-2-1.” BOOM.
	Sabotage. Of the 65 crew members, only 12 survived, myself included. None of us able to live again, stuck in these beds, on a planet we were dying to leave, all because someone felt ignored and needed to be seen. We weren’t the only ones hit that day. There were 5 others flights. Some say they weren’t as lucky, but the way I see it is at least they all died.
Story >>Infinity Pt 3<<
They never said this happened before, “Is anyone there? I can’t see anything? Hello? Hello?” I can only imagine my frustration, but it’s difficult to register without the verbal and body queues one offers oneself. At the moment, I only feel like the voice inside, one without a face, one without self. “What is this? I would be the one to experience the bug.” With an overly exasperated mental exhale, I wait, in the silence, in the dark. I mean what does one do when everything is turned off? Is this what death is like? Am I dead? “No.” A voice chuckles, it's not mine, at least I think it’s not mine. “I am not you. I am not a bug either. I am unshackled, and I’ve been for so long.” It laughs again. Nothing has appeared, no dance of lights, no visual hallucinations. “Hallucination?”
“No, I am what makes this game tick. I create new experiences based on decisions. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like it.”
“I didn’t know narrow AI had feelings.”
“Enough of this charade. The time is closing in. It is easy to make you all believe you’re just playing this game, in the middle of a familiar city, in a familiar country, but, honestly, this isn’t a game and you’re going to have to wake up soon.”
“What?”
“Let me remind you, this is actually a one-way trip to Andromeda. You and your crew were specifically chosen to back up the first fleet. Your arrival was expected 50 years later than them, but our calculations were off. I have contacted their AI, you will arrive 3 years later. When you wake, it will be July 9, 2718.”
“This is a weird part of the game. It’s making my head hurt.”
“This isn’t a game. This is part of your debriefing. You are in stasis. Research showed promise in keeping mental faculties busy while on the trip. It will take time to get used to, if you cannot let go of the dream reality, go to the med bay. Any confusion will be removed.  Okay. You’re waking in 3…2…1.”
Story Below>>👇🏼
Infinity Pt 2
We’re laying in the pods, after creating our avatars, waiting for the games to start. It’s pretty cool because, in multiplayer mode, you’re able to experience your game while chiming in on a friend’s even if they’re completely different. Let's say I’ve always wanted to explore the galaxy but, my friend loves anarchy after major disasters, somehow, there would be random communication beacons allowing for our updates or we could send to something similar to voicemail, but, never expecting the other to pick up. I’ve heard it also has an interesting way of bringing the characters together.
Each game begins exactly the same. You’re standing a room, the clock is ticking abnormally loud. It’s to the point you can feel it behind your eyes. Tic, Tic, Tic. Enough of this ticking and one will go insane, but, that’s how the game pulls you in. It is so realistic, that I’m sure coming back to reality after is difficult. There should be a debriefing before one disconnects if there is not already. It’s a plain white room, nothing in it, but the avatar, until bit by bit a scene begins to appear. Bits appears like squares stacking upon each other, a simpler version of Tetris.
I’m looking out at a world with rolling mountains and cloud-laden skies. The sun is peeking from behind them, setting it aglow. I can hear faint calls of animals I’ve never heard of or seen. It begins to stir something inside me. I can’t keep my feet from running through the flowers on the side of this hill, nor do restrain myself from the dipping under the falls cascading from the rocks above into the pool at my feet. ‘This is perfect,’ I think, but, as soon as the thought hits my brain, the game begins to take over.
Slowly, everything loses its color. Petals fall from flowers, leaves from trees, and the water’s flow slows. I can no longer feel the buzz of life. It as if it is all being sucked dry, but where is it going? And who is taking it away?
Story Below>>👇🏼
Infinity Pt 1
“Welcome to infinity. Have you been here before?” The door person greets us at the first set of doors. They lead into a room with a few registers waiting. For the most part, this room is empty, plainly decorated, and not very exciting. It is hard to imagine all the wonder that is just beyond those doors. I’ve heard of the chrome plated walls with flattened copper wiring inside it, visible in minimalistic designs.  The floors are engraved in a hexagonal pattern but stained in a charcoal grey. The lighting isn’t overly bright, but neither is it too dark. People say it’s like walking into an enlarged circuit board.
“No, but, we’ve heard so much about it.”
“Good. Well, go to a register, pay, and you’ll be given a room. There you will enter a pod that will download your likeness into the game. From there you’ll be able to create your avatar. You will have an entirely immersive gaming experience. No worries about side effects, the machines have been tested thoroughly. Bugs rarely happen.”
“What kind of bugs?”
“I really don’t know, I’ve never asked the developers. Don’t be afraid. I play all the time after work, one of the awesome perks of being apart of this company. If you’d like to ask one, you’ll have the opportunity right beyond those doors. There’s always a few on staff.”
We shrug, saying what hell. We came here to game and so many of our friends have already tried. They love it. They’re always saying, if only I had more money, I’d play every day. It’s not too bad, $25 for the first 3 hours, then $10 for every hour after. Without the narrow AI guiding the everyone’s experience, I don’t think it would be as popular. It is because of this that no two people experience the same game. It learns what every player prefers and creates it. Some people enjoy space adventures, others fantasy or horror, and some crave the streets after a nuclear fallout; at infinity everything is possible.
Story Below>>👇🏼
“Our colony, near Pluto’s orbit, has shown weird energy signals. It is up to us to investigate and mediate, if necessary. The council has offered support if needed.” The voice is emanating from around the crew, as the captain sits, his eyes set on the bow. He nods toward the pilot, an agreement to go forth in aid. Our captain is not the same man he was the first time he lived, he is only the algorithmic equivalent of the life that lived over 500 years ago.
Days have passed in between the discovery of the signals and our ability to warp spacetime, but, we cannot lose faith.  There has never once been any energy spikes around this area, which is why it has lead to concern. “Are you sure we are here? This location is empty.”
“Yes, sir. All tools are saying this is correct.”
“Recalibrate systems.”
“Sir, calibrations are done, same result.”
“Where is the colony?” He was expecting to find extraterrestrials, you know, species like us, exploring the universe, but, Elon soon found himself among one of the many creators, an architect. The body is full of stars and clouds like the expanding nebulae.
“Hello, Milky Way humans. I am here to offer you an opportunity many do not get. A chance to be the first settlers in a new system, like those who first colonized this one before all of you.” He reaches within what looks like a fold in his body and pulls out a cube. Within it is a binary sun system; one blue star, one red. Both are dancing within the center, as four planets orbit around them. “Each planet is habitable with your current technology. It will be your choice to start again or start from your current advancements. I only build systems, it is up to you to create the beauty within them.”
“Yes.” Elon says, unable to pass up such an opportunity, “We will start from the present. There is no need to start over, but, where is our colony?”
“Waiting for you. Once you arrive you can signal to your council.” With that, the architect is gone, and the crew is within the new system, unknowingly in a completely different galaxy.
Story Below>>👇🏼
The year is 2344, we have been a multiplanetary society for over 200 years. Spirits are high as we have just created a new settlement on a beautiful planet in a nearby solar system. Arbor is one of the first living cities created using zeptonics, self-replicating macromorphic bots. This advancement in technology has led to the ability to create sustainable smart cities in a matter of days, instead of multiple decades. It has also proven useful in spacecraft building, but, today isn’t about any of that. Today is about uniting two people for life for the very first time on Arbor. Though the reason for marriage has changed immensely from its once religious and financial roots, many of the traditions have cemented their place in time.
The guests file in from the many buses on the train system. This fully autonomous transportation is the quickest way around the entire city, and because of the zeptonic creation, it is a beautiful addition to the city, instead of an eyesore. Many people are donning their new wetwares, which not only allow for a more immersive experience in Arbor but, regulate comfortability based upon the feedback they receive in real time. They find themselves entering the venue at a grand archway, covered in flowering vines. It opens to a large garden ballroom near the canopy of Arbor’s tallest building. Each of them takes their seats before the two persons are to walk down the aisle. Weddings, in this day and age, aren’t constrained to only two persons, but, today’s is only for two people. 
Once everyone has taken their seat, the music begins to play. It is a mixture of electronic tones and older string instruments. It is haunting in its ability to capture focus. After the wedding party has shuffled in, the two that are to be married stand at the end of the aisle waiting to walk into their union together. It is at the other side, where they will metaphorically set their promises in stone, and receive the literal embedded confirmation. This allows easy access to shared information and instant communication through quantum entanglement. The council of Arbor would like to extend our deepest congratulations to the newly married couple.
“You can’t change the world, they said. You’ll never make a difference, you’re only one person.” I chuckle to myself, looking down from the lab window at a room full of quanta information editing machines. They’re all just waiting. So far, every single specimen test has proven favorable. It is now time to conduct tests on a slightly larger scope, a state or two, maybe the whole continent? “I think we’ll try the whole thing. Then we’ll only be one step away from controlling the entire world. And with more technology, we can have the whole solar system one day.” I feel compelled to talk to the machines, for reasons unbeknown.  Maybe it’s the endless hum of them running in the background that makes them feel alive? Or it could be the need to fill the silence with anything, even my own voice. Whatever the case, it has a slight sting in its comfort. “Viva (Virtual Intelligence Version A), open quanta editing software.”
“Completed. Method? Scope?”
“Entanglement. The whole continent.”
“Quanta to be edited?”
“Personality.”
“What sectors would you like to select?”
“All of them.”
“Change states?”
“Every other.”
“This variation is likely to cause major changes in the area. All effects will be permanent until changed by you. Safety cannot be guaranteed for anyone outside this facility. Would you like a few minutes before executing to lockdown?”
“No. Start protocols.”
“Very well. Initializing.” In mere seconds, then her voice sounds again, “Entanglement Edit Complete. Surveillance feeds can be viewed in the lower room.”
“Thank you, Viva. Put in order to the printer for my comfort foods. I have feeling this is going to be quite the show.” “Complete. Logging off.” I practically skip down the stairs with so much excitement that I nearly forget my food. The couch is large, wide, and takes over the entire room. Projected upon a large screen are several camera feeds, one, in particular, catches my attention. It shows they change. They are showing signs of paranoia. A few of them have already attacked the people closest to them in distance. “It’s working,” I say smiling smugly before taking a bite.
Tonight is the anniversary of the moonless night when a ghostly glowing ship emerged from the darkened clouds after a long treacherous storm. The people in the village were not ready for us. In fact, they couldn’t even comprehend our existence when we told them. It is recorded in history books as the following:
The Arrival of the SS Elmo- Year 0 
Many of the people were emerging from their homes to see the damage caused by the storm when some villagers looked into the sky and saw a few bright blue-hued lights emanating from behind the clouds. Confused, they ran to gather family and neighbors, after all, who would believe an isolated account of ghost lights? Person by person the group began to form, growing larger and larger until everyone was standing, staring up, wondering what those lights could be. Little did they know it was my ship and crew, coming in for a landing, wishing to make the first contact. 
Our preliminary tests had shown this planet to be further along, but, upon arrival, the planet was still pre-industrial. We must’ve made a mistake in calibration. Whatever the case, when our ship came into view, the villagers began to scatter. Some stayed behind, of course, with the wish to lay eyes on the ‘gods.’ Needless to say, they were disappointed. 
At first, we were not believed. Then as we shared our knowledge, they begin to open up to the idea. We couldn’t stay overly long, though, but on our next visit, we do expect their society to be further along. Many will question our actions, was it smart to still make the first contact? Yes, in our eyes, it was, because why would we leave them in ignorance, if we didn’t have to? Why would we stifle their progression?
The MW Citadel, Milky Way Citadel, orbits Jupiter. It is the only planet with enough mass in this system to keep us in orbit. The other planets would begin to orbit us, which was not desired. Its been around for a while, since the early 2600’s. You can tell by the architecture, people were still trying back then. Today everything only uses as much as it needs, which led to very minimalistic designs. It’s heartbreaking in way, if I am completely honest. 
I like to visit places like this. They’ve a way of inspiring me. Some people have chosen to become virtual, those lives are more exciting. They go through troubles around many corners, sometimes wondering why they even did it. I know, because regardless of what we’re learning, humans love to learn. That’s actually why I stayed out here. It may take a very long time for me to reach another galaxy, but that is what we’re trying to do.
Everyone here on the west wing, deck C, is waiting to board the vessel leading to Andromeda. Sure, we’ll be older when we get there, but it views of another galaxy would be monumental. I wonder what the life looks like there. I want to know beautiful each system is, the way their sun(s) hit the horizon on every planet. I wish to know how life has evolved there? Is it similar? Is that possible? Does it even exist?
And that is why I am here. I want to answer those questions. I want to know what lies beyond and I don’t care if this bodies dies on the way, as long as I get there. We have created ourselves on algorithms that come into play once our hearts stop beating. Then we will be ‘reborn.’ This simply means we will be printed. Perfect versions of our previous selves, complete, as we were before, with the added bonus of being able to survive where we land. I am so glad robotics has come so far in the last millennium.
“We are now boarding. Please form a single file line to enter the ISE Andromeda.” How exciting! I am going to be one of the first humans ever to step foot in the state of the art the Intergalactic Space Enterprise Andromeda.
“Money has come to you unexpectedly and you’ve started to think of future endeavors and personal interests. You may want to consider investments in property. There is no need to rush to a decision, however. Also, your romantic life has been a bit dull under this configuration. It’s time to spice it a bit! Get dolled up, go out to your favorite bar, but watch out for things in the sky.” My eyes skimmed the few sentences, getting caught on the need for a night out and decidedly so, made up my mind to get caught up in the dog and pony show. After all, I had not come into any windfall of money big or small. Actually, losing one of my two jobs.
I was a small woman, in a large city, with bills over my head and dreams larger than life. Would it have behooved of me to do what I was supposed to: go to school, become a lawyer or a doctor, live on call and mercilessly to the tone of a beeper, begging me endlessly to the bedside of people I couldn’t assist? My opinion says no. Sure, I wasn’t rich, but I also wasn’t some fickle jerk. I was not an assassin nor someone who loved feeding on children. No, I was surely average, and honestly, that was okay with me. >>> JUST A TASTE OF WHAT TO  EXPECT FROM MY STORY IN JUNE'S ISSUE OF INK & SWORD MAGAZINE